Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Leads Huskies To Another Upset Win

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Leads Huskies To Upset Win

Well, the team no one wanted to pick at the beginning of the week has done it. Jim Calhoun’s Connecticut Huskies rode an incredible three-game stretch from junior guard Kemba Walker all the way to a title at the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational. The improbable run was capped off by a 84-67 win over No. 8 Kentucky.

Walker was brilliant as usual in the finale, though he didn’t set the tournament scoring record, falling just 3 points shy of the mark.

Walker finished the night with 29 points and 2 rebounds, to go along with 6 assists and 2 steals. He was the runaway choice for Tournament MVP. Teammate Alex Oriakhi was also named to the All-Tournament team, after a 18-point, 11-rebound performance in the finale.

For Kentucky it wasn’t all bad news. Freshman forward Terrence Jones had yet another solid game despite foul trouble. Jones finished the night with 24 points, 4 rebounds 1 assist, 2 blocks and 2 steals in just 27 minutes of action. He also earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.

Kentucky Point guard Brandon Knight had a forgettable game in the finale. The freshman scored just 6 points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field, while dishing out 5 assists. But Knight turned the ball over 5 times and never looked comfortable handling the ball.

What a great tournament for the previously unranked Huskies and their star point guard.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Huskies Headed For An Island Title

Kemba Walker continues to march toward a Maui Invitational scoring record, and the Huskies continue to pour it on, they lead 82-60 with 3:10 remaining.

Walker now has 29 points, he needs three more to tie the tournament scoring record.

Alex Oriakhi has also continued to impress, he now has 18 points and 11 rebounds and has certainly secured a spot on the All-Tournament team.

For Kentucky, one player who hasn’t given up is Darius Miller. The junior guard has stayed aggressive, scoring 15 points (13 in the second half).

Freshman sensation Terrence Jones has been saddle with foul trouble all night but he has still managed to rack up 22 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Kemba Walker Is Amazing

It’s official, Kemba Walker is amazing. The kid is just sensational. With 7:41 left in the game and the Huskies up 73-53, he has 27 points and is within reach of his fifth-straight 30-point game, a UConn record.

Walker isn’t just an offensive machine, he’s played excellent defense and is clearly a leader for this young Huskies team. I’m loving watching him. I’ve got the “wow” count (the number of times all of press row has said “wow” at a play) for him at 11 tonight.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Huskies Holding Lead

Despite a nice run from Kentucky, UConn still has a 59-43 lead with 11:51 left in the game. Kemba Walker has 21 points, 3 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and just one turnover. The guy is amazing.

Alex Oriakhi has also continued his solid play for the Huskies. Oriakhi has 16 points, 8 rebounds (3 offensive) 2 steals and 3 blocks. He’s also manned the middle for UConn while committing just 1 foul. A nice tournament thus far for Oriakhi. He could be headed for a spot on the All-Tournament team.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Cats Storming Back

Kentucky’s fans are going crazy as the Wildcats have cut into the Huskies’ lead and now trail 54-39 with 15:51 remaining.

Terence Jones has hopped off the bench from his foul trouble to nail two big three-pointers, he now has 16 points on the night and is 3-for-3 from three-point range.

Kemba Walker continues to shine for UConn, he’s now up to 19 points on the night with 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Huskies Up Big At The Half

Wow is all I can say. Wow. No one thought anything of this UConn team a few weeks ago. They were picked to finish 10th in the Big East, and right now they are absolutely handing a beating to the No. 8 team in the country, as they lead Kentucky 50-29 at the half. This comes one night after knocking off the No. 2 team in the country, Michigan State.

Kemba Walker is simply amazing. He just has no fear of taking any shot, but he’s not one of those guys who just launches indiscriminately. He takes good shots, but he often pulls up and fires when you least expect it. At the half he has 17 points (6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point range), 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.

Helping Walker out all night has been Alex Oriakhi who has 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks at the break.

UConn has played this game with absolutely no fear and have stayed completely under control. The Huskies are shooting 60 percent from the field (18-for-30).

Kentucky got a fast start from freshman Terrence Jones, but he spent a significant portion of the half on the bench with 2 fouls. The Wildcats have looked like freshmen in this one, as point guard Brandon Knight hasn’t made good decisions with the ball. Knight is just 1-for-9 from the field (0-for-4 from three-point range) and has just 2 points, no assists and 3 turnovers at the break.

UConn has also owned the boards, winning the rebounding battle 20-14 so far.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Alex Oriakhi Stepping Up

UConn looks like they’re for real, as they’ve gotten out to a 45-29 lead with 2:08 remaining in the opening half, disappointing a very partisan Kentucky crowd.

Sophomore forward Alex Oriakhi has owned the paint so far in the championship game. While Kemba Walker has dropped in 14 points and dished out 3 assists, Oriakhi has done the dirty work down low. He has 14 points (on 5-of-5 shooting from the field), to go along with 5 rebounds, 1 block and a steal.

Oriakhi has also drawn two fouls on Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, relegating the super frosh to the bench midway through the half.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Huskies Lead Early

At the 11:59 mark of the first half, UConn has a 19-16 lead.

I’m sitting next to Danny Ainge courtside, and I can tell you that he’s very impressed with what he’s seen from Jones so far. At least, I think so. Dude will not get off his cellphone.

Freshman sensation Terrence Jones has already been all over the place for Kentucky. He has 10 points (including a beautiful three-pointer) and 2 boards early.

On the other side of things, Kemba Walker started with 8 quick points, but has been looking to get others involved as well (2 assists), specifically Alex Oriakhi, who has 5 points and 2 rebounds early.

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Maui Invitational, No. 8 Kentucky Vs. Connecticut: Can Kemba Walker Do It Again?

Entering this week, no one expected the UConn Huskies to compete for a title at the 2010 EA Sports Maui Invitational. In fact, head coach Jim Calhoun claimed he was still just learning his players' names. But Calhoun has something none of the other phenomenal coaches gathered at this tournament did: junior point guard Kemba Walker.

Walker has taken the Maui Invitational by storm, scoring 61 points in his first two games and putting himself within striking distance of the tournament scoring record. The current mark of 93 was set in 1991 by Chaminade's George Gilmore, and is certainly within reach of Walker.

UConn also has a solid group surrounding their scoring leader, as forward Alex Oriakhi has shown well so far this season, averaging 12.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Oriakhi had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the Huskies' big 70-67 win over No. 2 Michigan State Tuesday night.

Standing in UConn's way will be the No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats who aren't short of talent themselves. Freshman forward Terrence Jones has had the gym buzzing this week with incredible performances in Kentucky's wins over Oklahoma and Washington. Against the Sooners Jones scored 29 while adding 13 rebounds and Tuesday night against the Huskies he score 16 points and grabbed 17 boards.

Kentucky is also led by freshman point guard Brandon Knight, who is trying to be mentioned in the same breath as Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall as freshman point guards who dominated for John Calipari-coached teams. After a tough opener against Oklahoma, Knight opened up his offensive bag of tricks Tuesday night and displayed his full arsenal. He finished the night with 24 points and 4 rebounds, hitting shots from all over the court.

It should be a great battle tonight between two of basketball's best programs. UConn won the 2005 Maui Invitational, while Kentucky last won the tournament in 1993.

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